A Very Popular Request
Well the title says it all. During the past few weeks I received dozens of questions and requests about a special Group Made to Order we had at The Noble Shoe during the summer. So here is a nice quick Showcase of the Carlos Santos Handgrade Single Monks in Algarve Patina.
In fact, the GMTO is back due to this popularity and it is a good chance to not only promote it, but also look at the features and what makes these unique.
Still with me? Good, there is a lot of photo material!
Single Is…Better Than Double?
The fact is when you hear the words “Monk Straps” your mind goes immediately to Double Monks. Single Monks however are much rarer but also often underappreciated. It is very strange since it’s a very elegant timeless shoe but maybe not too bold for the times we live in.
It is definitely a shoe for more acquired taste it seems considering that it performed much better than its double buckle counterpart. The idea was simple. Take an already existing model, apply the most unique, sharp last available by Carlos Santos and offer it in stunning Patinas.
Believe it or not but a lot of thought goes behind each model, which I curate diligently considering the aesthetics and construction quality. This particular model needed something that would elevate it to the next level and everything begins with the last and a good choice of color.
The result is an elongated sharp single monk shoe with a plain toe and wholecut appearance inspired by Gaziano & Girling’s lasts.
Specification & Availability
Let us begin in the specs which is customary. Read this to find out who Carlos Santos is but I really consider them one of the best value shoemakers in the world right now.
- Brand: Carlos Santos
- Model: 6307
- Style: Single Monk-strap
- Range: Handgrade
- Construction: Goodyear Welted
- Uppers: Full Grain Crust Calf
- Color: Algarve Patina (Dark/Mid-Brown)
- Lining: Genuine Leather
- Last: 389 Soft Square
- Fitting: Regular Width
- Sole: Closed Channel Leather
- Origin: Portugal
- Price: $406.99
- Shop: The Noble Shoe (Group Made to Orders are not always available!)
Great specifications for a really good price. Let’s discuss availability now. Since this is a special pair it will be only available as a Group Made to Order. At the time of writing, this is active until September 30th 2020 with a choice of any Patina you want. In fact you can choose from 20 different ones! Here is for example how the Norte Patina looks on the same pair.
The price is only $406.99 with Free International Shipping (DHL Express) and estimated delivery around December 2020. You can only find this particular model and offering at The Noble Shoe and as a token of my appreciation you can use the code “FIRST5” for 5% Off your First Purchase. It is time to go ahead and take a closer look at the features and the Algarve Patina itself.
Let’s Ease The Sizing Anxiety
Before we move on actually I would like to touch on a very important topic that often stresses online buyers. It is understandable since GMTOs are not returnable hence the importance of a good fit. That is why I am here to ease your concerns.
The 389 Last is a very true to size last. I wear exactly the same as my Carmina Rain, Meermin Hiro, most Crockett & Jones lasts and Cheaney among others. If you are in the US it is super easy to pick as you should get your regular US size in UK. Here are some examples to make it easier:
- John wears US 9D in Allen Edmonds Park Avenue 65 Last. He would pick UK 8 in these Carlos Santos Handgrade Single Monks.
- Thomas wears US 8.5E in Allen Edmonds Strands. In this case he would also pick UK 8 to compensate for the width difference.
- James wears a UK 8 in Meermin Hiro and Carmina Rain. He picks the same size for these Single Monks.
So rule of thumb is take your True To Size in UK or size down a Full Size from your regular US. If you are an E Width then size down just half from your regular US.
What Is A Monk Shoe? – Design & Aesthetics
I already touched upon the aesthetics of the shoes but we will go a bit more in depth. First of all, a Monk-Strap is a lace-less piece of footwear that has a strap of leather across the vamp of the shoe which you can fasten with buckles on the side. The number of buckles defines the name of the style and the only ones you should consider are “Single“, “Double” and when executed well “Triple“. Monk shoes can have (or not have) a cap-toe and lately you will encounter boot variations.
Avoid any model you see with over 3 straps as they look utterly ridiculous.
A lack of cap-toe and a sharper more aggressive last gives an elongated feeling that you often see in the higher end shoes such as Gaziano & Girling, Antonio Meccariello, Paolo Scafora and generally all things Mediterranean.
The soft square also creates a toe shape that is very eye-catching and will draw attention. A delicate, well designed soft square shape will elevate the correct styles to the next level. Very often, these shoes will look like wholecuts under a pair of trousers.
I find golden buckles a little tacky and too much, or maybe I am just a fan of silver and feel it works better with the latter. Monks already have a style that draws attention and you don’t need the extras or it is too try-hard in my opinion. You don’t want that, you want to be effortless and dress well to feel well. Not to impress others.
20 Handpainted Colors To Choose From
One of the most distinguishable features of Carlos Santos is the ability to create good shoes with fantastic handpainted patinas. It’s quite unheard of that you can buy a regular line shoe for $289.99 and get to choose from 20 colors and 14 models. Last time the choice was limited to just Algarve (Mid-Brown) and Norte (Navy) but this time you have a choice of all! Here’s a quick look at the swatch:
Algarve is slowly becoming one of the most popular colors for the Patina Service and it is absolutely fantastic on this. I mean the pictures speak for themselves. If you wish you can also read the short review of the owner of this particular pair on Reddit.
Carlos Santos sources great leather from the Hermes Tannery in France (Calf from Du Puy and D’Annonay) in Full Grain Calfskin Crust. After they finish a pair of shoes it then goes to the Patina Workshop where they handpaint each shoe. Algarve has the perfect balance of dark and mid-brown hues with the perfect touch of burnishing on the edges.
This leather is extremely easy to maintain with Saphir Neutral 02 Wax & Polish and takes a shine really well as you see above.
Want my recommendation? Algarve, Guimaraes, Sintra, Norte, Petro Shadow and Wine Shadow are my favorites.
Closer Look At The Details
What I like about this model is the proportion of the strap and the leather underneath. Sometimes it’s too thin while others too much but with the 6307 Model I feel Carlos Santos found a good balance.
You can also see how consistent and high density is the SPI of the stitching. Consistency is key when making shoes and I am a very happy owner of many pairs.
Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of this pair’s sole so I will use an archive one. There will be no difference however, apart from the fact that the metal toe tip is an optional extra.
Yes, even the sole is Handpainted with a beveled waist and slight fiddleback. Of course the welt channel is hidden and is a feature of high end shoemaking.
Once again, here is an archived photo of the inner lining which is higher quality on the Handgrade line. It’s a subtle yet powerful change from the orange/natural color of linings with this mix of dark brown and purple hues. The heel cup has a suede feel and helps with slip and hugging your heel better.
The welt itself has fudging giving it a very polished look. It feels and looks like a significant step up from the regular line.
Should You Get One?
If you made it this far, I want to firstly thank you for considering joining this GMTO and supporting my little business project. The truth is that this is not your average first or second shoe purchase. That should be a nice dark brown oxford or derby shoe. If you have a few good pairs of shoes and want to add something different but classy, or are further along the shoe journey then go for it.
This is a shoe that with proper care can last you for years to come while looking excellent. The Patina ages beautifully and evolves just like your shoe taste. You also get to support the skilled good people of the Portuguese Industry. Some work in the Carlos Santos factory for 30-40 years to bring you this.
One last thing to remember is the price. It is a lot of shoe for just over $400 but of course is not perfect. The Patina has natural nuances, the top of the lining won’t have the detail or polishing of a $1000 shoe. Usually you get what you pay for but in this case, you get a little bit extra.
This sums up this short (who am I kidding) showcase of the Carlos Santos 6307 Handgrade Single Monks in Algarve Patina. A truly remarkable shoe with aesthetics punching way above its weight. It will be available for Pre-Order on The Noble Shoe until the 30th of September.
It is becoming increasingly challenging to keep up the writing weekly with my business scaling up. I am therefore trying to ease the burden of this hobby -because it is just a hobby- by having more interviews and hosting more guest posts. If you feel you can contribute with your thoughts or reviews, I would love to hear from you. Soon I will have a great article of a 5 year Carmina Review and an interview with a Polish Tie-Maker. Until then, consider Subscribing if you are new or Sharing if you are an older reader and I will see you next week!
Thank you for reading,